A Notwestminster 2020 workshop hosted by Gerry Proctor & Zarino Zappia
This workshop aims to spark debate about how to open up spaces in the public domain where every voice is valued, and where politicians are invited to listen and contribute alongside residents and citizens.
Where there are polarised communities or lack of understanding of basic issues, and where people may be dissatisfied with local government practice, we can think creatively to inject good ideas and good practice into a local situation. Many create pressure groups or lobbying groups, but there could also be a place for those who want to open up new spaces in the civic realm, for respectful sharing and best practice interventions.
In this workshop you’ll hear about the work of Engage Liverpool, which was started by residents of Liverpool’s city centre and is run entirely by volunteers. They have developed a seminar series that invites top speakers from around Europe and wider afield to share their best practice, alongside national and local characters. Using this example of how we can enhance the quality of public conversation and raise the bar for local decision-making, we’ll talk about what could happen (or is already happening) elsewhere to open up spaces where every voice is valued.
About the workshop hosts
Engage Liverpool was formed about a decade ago to start connecting residents from the apartment developments of the city centre. Gerry Proctor is the current Chair and Founder and Engage has been creating spaces where people can come together to explore progressive experiences of urban living to improve everyone’s quality of life. Our flagship event is the annual autumn seminar series which attracts over 100 people to each of the three seminars.
Zarino is a trustee at Engage Liverpool CIC, a resident-led social enterprise with the aim of making a place for everyone in a vibrant sustainable Liverpool. When he’s not working on civic engagement in Liverpool, his day job is working as a designer at mySociety, the charity behind sites like TheyWorkForYou, FixMyStreet, and WriteToThem.
How to get involved
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Big hearts and open minds
Our kind of democracy is human-scale. When we talk about local democracy, we mean the democracy that happens where we are, in our neighbourhoods and the places that we know. It is the democracy that we live and breathe, each and every day. It only lives when we have our hearts in it, and it only grows when we are open to thinking and doing in different ways.
So if you’re open to our local democracy being what we want it to be, and if you’re up for the challenge of doing something to help make it happen, please join us at Notwestminster.